The Fantabulous Free Weekend has begun!

This weekend, is offereing a free Kindle download of Sheri Pavlovic’s book “Confessions of a Refashionista: Bewitched Bed Sheets” Sheri is an amazing green crafter and a fellow Green Craft’s Lifestyle contributer. What she is able to do with clothes is AMAZING! Be sure and check it out! Don’t have a Kindle? No problem! Download the free kindle software for your PC!


Decoupage your Cell Phone: Take Two

Back on May 28th, I posted an entry regarding decoupaging your smart phone called Crafting Is Worth The Risk.  At the time it was unknown as to how such a project would turn out.   I actually  loved it, and decided to decoupage my computer tablet as well.   I received so many compliments on my phone case!  If they only knew!  Cell phone cases can be quite expensive, and this is certainly is a thrifty way to add an artistic flare to your phone without spending a lot of money, but what happens  when you decoupage your phone, but need a change?  No problem!

I wanted to change my smart phone’s look to something more colorful.  I loved the scrapbook paper I used on my tablet.  I had a small piece of this paper left and decided to use it to update my phone’s look.  It was fairly easy to remove the old decoupage, I simply peeled it off with my fingers and cleaned the back of the phone cover and removed any of the old dried, Mod Podge.  I was surprised, because the decoupage held up amazingly well, and I didn’t think it would be so easy to remove.   I then repeated the same process I used during my initial restyle.  I removed the back of the phone, and traced this  on to the back of the paper with a pen, and using an X-Acto knife I carefully trimmed the areas such as the speaker and camera lens.  I applied Mod Podge directly to the phone cover to adhere the paper and then applied multiple coats over top to seal.

A few additional phone decoupage tips:

Use Mod Podge Matte finish as the gloss finish I find dries tacky!

Be careful and keep your phone dry (Decoupage or not this is always a good tip!)

Always remove the cover from the phone before you start.  (Don’t want any glue finding its way in any of the phone’s electronic components.)

Do not place a decoupage phone on another decoupaged item such as a table.  The two mod podged surfaces will “stick” to each other!

Before Decoupaging, If your phone is under warranty, be sure and check if altering your phone in any way, could void the phone’s warranty (read the fine print)

For a more detailed tutorial, please see Restyle Your Smart Phone.

Restyle your cell phone/smart phone


Life Lessons Learned: Freebies, Coupons, and One Journal Makeover

While I was pregnant with my daughter, I started a habit of “gathering” and searching for free samples and coupons online. Becoming a mom for the first time,  I was in full on thrift mode. There are many of these sites online and many of them make you jump through hoops and often times do not deliver on there promises.  One of the best sites I came across and still follow today is Sample Stuff.Com.  It takes the best offers on the web and shares them with you first, so you have the best chance at getting free samples, coupons and sweepstakes.  They also post updates when items are no longer available.  I have gotten dozens of free items including yearly magazine subscriptions to Rolling Stone, Town and Country, Family Circle, and Better Homes and Gardens, just to name a few! So why am I sharing this?  It ties into this upcycle, a freebie I picked up from Oprah (yes, I said Oprah)

A while back, Oprah was  giving out free Journals to go with an upcoming “Lifeclass” a self-enrichment course that required keeping a journal.  I had heard of this promotion through the Sample Stuff Site.  I actually was interested in taking the class, but then life got in the way of Lifeclass, (Ironic I know) and there sat an empty journal.  The journal was nicely made with a strap and built-in book mark ribbon.  I have wanted to carry a journal and write for sometime, and this would be perfect; However a restyle was in order…


Inside the cover and front page


I picked out some nicely patterned scrapbook paper and gathered the materials needed:


I traced the front and back covers.  I decided to leave the book spine free of paper. I cut out the tracings and placed them aside.  I applied Mod Podge with a foam craft brush to the front cover and gently applied the cut scrapbook paper smoothing it out with my hands.  I then repeated the same for the back cover.  I cut a small piece to cover the inside cover and carefully and neatly removed the 1st page.


Once the outside of the book was dry, I applied Mod Podge to the covers to add some durability when taking this journal on the go.  Now I have a great recycled life journal to take with me and the best part was.. it was free!



Tangled No More: Upcycled Wooden Shaker Peg Rack

I have a confession.  I am horrible when it comes to keeping my jewelry together and organized. I am always losing earrings,  and I constantly tangle my necklaces together.  When I picked up this Shaker Peg Rack at a thrift shop, I planned on using it to hang “crafty”things in my crafting area. I decided against it when I realized it was more urgently needed in our bedroom for jewelry.    I reached my breaking point this weekend, when I went to change my necklace only to discover a tangled mess!


I decided I would use the fabric featured on Upcycled Spaghetti Jar Lamp.  I tried removing the pegs, but needed some of the hubby’s strength to remove them. He was able to loosen them and I was able to finally pop them out. My plan was to glue the pegs back on later. After pulling them out, they still fit snuggly which was great.  Removing the pegs would make it easier when covering the rack with fabric, and it would appear seamless.   I traced the rack surface onto the fabric with a black marker.


I cut the fabric outline with a pair of scissors.  I placed the fabric aside.  I applied Mod Podge to the wooden rack with a foam craft brush, I carefully applied the cut fabric to the wooden surface smoothing it out on the surface with my hands.  I marked off the spot on the fabric, where the peg holes were.  This way, when dry I could pierce the holes with a scissor tip without making the fabric shift and move. I placed this piece aside to dry and painted the pegs with black acrylic paint.  I painted any areas not covered with fabric black.  Once the paint was completely dry, I covered all the painted and fabric covered areas with another layer of Mod Podge, and glued the wooden pegs back into the holes.  I used two long black screws to mount the jewelry holder to the wall.

This fabric and style looks great in our grey/neutral bedroom. You can use any fabric or color scheme you like and unfinished Shaker Peg Racks can easily be picked up at yard sales and thrift shops for a couple bucks. The perfect upcycle!

Upcycled Shaker Peg Rack Made with fabric, Paint and Mod Podge

Good Golly! Miss Molly!

Yesterday the family drove three hours to Maryland for my niece’s 7th Birthday Party.  It was a great time especially watching the kids play musical chairs, and I got to talk upcycling with my sister’s fabulous neighbor!  My daughter loved the swing errr maybe a little two much *insert two-year old temper tantrum here* It was not pretty when we tried to take her off.

My sister also just added a new four legged member to their family. She is a sweet beagle/lab mix named Molly….


Doesn’t she have the sweetest face?  Hope you all had a great weekend and are enjoying these final days of summer with family and friends….

Now back to the Upcycle!


Decoupage To The Rescue! Lost Basement Table Gets A Makeover

Last stop before curbside in our house has always been the basement.  This poor glass table had been banished to the basement for seven years, the entire time we have lived in our house!  It was pushed in a corner and with flower pots and miscellaneous basement junk stacked on top of it and covered in spider webs. My husband and I try to keep the basement clean, and clutter free, but it is not always easy.  As much as we dislike our basement’s dampness, cement walls and floors, the spiders seem to love it! That’s good because they help control the other bugs crawling around down there! yuck!  If any item deserved a little TLC, and a makeover it was this table! I cleaned it in our utility sink and brought it upstairs.  The glass was easily removable, and the table cleaned up nicely.

Basement Rolling Glass Table Rescue

I laid out the fabric,  I was using on the floor and traced the glass on to the back of the fabric with a fine tipped marker.  I cut the tracings with scissors, and set the fabric aside. It is amazing that a pair of curtains bought at Goodwill, and originally sold by Ikea has been used in 5 previous projects on this blog! These curtains were a great buy and I still have scrap pieces left.  When I started doing this, I was shocked at the high cost of fabric. I always make sure I take a walk by the linens aisle at the thrift stores. Old bed sheets and curtains are great for  furniture re-styles because of their durability and come in great patterns.  You can still purchase this fabric called “Fredrika” through Ikea here.  I love it! For me, Even though it is modern made, it has a 60’s flower power appeal, and I love the colorful textiles from that era.


I generously applied the Mod Podge, with a paint brush to the outside of the glass.


Then, I carefully applied the fabric to the glass, smoothing it out with my hands.  I repeated this three times once for each piece of glass.  I allowed the pieces to dry in front of a fan. Once dry,  I applied Mod Podge over the top of the fabric to coat the surface.  I applied 3 coats to each table top.


Ta da! The colorful fabric turned a dirty and dusty table bound for the junkyard, into a colorful, and fun piece!  A true basement rescue!

Upcycled Rolling Glass Table Restyled with Ikea Fabric

The Genealogy Series: Murder in a small town, and the man who cracked the case.

Margaret “Maggie” Sullivan, was born in 1890, in Moorestown, NJ (Formally Chester Township, NJ) to Irish Immigrant parents Patrick F. Sullivan and Ellen L.  Larkin.  (She is the sister of William Sullivan who is my husband’s grandfather, and daughter’s Great-Grandfather.)  On November 26th 1912, Margaret married John H. Bradshaw  in Moorestown, NJ.   They began raising a family and had two children.

In 1917, John Bradshaw Sr. registered for the World War I draft.  He worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a Railroad Policeman.  Draft registration cards are a great resource for family researchers as they offer a treasure trove of information, such as birthdate, full name, marital status and much more. It also offers a physical description of the individual.  John is described as “tall, and stout with grey eyes and brown hair.”

Draft Card

Sometime after 1917,  John Bradshaw became a Moorestown Police Officer, and later would become chief of police of the town.  Moorestown, NJ is a quiet New Jersey suburb of Philadelphia. The town was founded in 1686 when John Rodman bought a few hundred acres of land.  The town having originally been named “Village of Rodmantown.” and for many years after that was known as Chester Township.  The town consisted of mostly farm land, and later many residents found  work on the railroad that cut-through the town.

I never expected when researching the Bradshaw Family, that I would come across such very high-profile murder cases John Bradshaw was involved in solving.  I discovered articles posted online in the archives of the NY Tribune, and Philadelphia Evening Public Ledger, mentioning the details of these cases.  Genealogy has opened my eyes to the facts.  Many horrible acts we think occur more now, happened back then as well, and with more frequency than even I previously realized.  All you have to do is look at any of these old newspaper articles and the stories within the pages. These horrors occurred everywhere and in every time. No town in America was safe from crime as it remains today, and Moorestown was no exception.  It became apparent after reading the details of these two high-profile cases Chief Bradshaw was involved in.   These cases were the Matilda Russo Murder,  and The Quigley Murder He also worked along side the famous detective Ellis Parker.

In 1921, Matilda Russo was the seven year-old daughter of town Tailor Frank Russo.  Matilda went missing one day.  Her body was discovered in the basement of a neighbor’s house, and the accused murderer was on the run with a huge manhunt ensuing.   A terrible child murder, the horrible details of which were outlined in the newspapers.  Turns out, John Bradshaw helped break the case and discovered the body of this little girl.  Because his name was mentioned in the above articles, I was able to discover these stories via search engines.  One of the best and probably most under used resources in genealogy are search engines and the best part is they are free!  I was able to discover more about John Bradshaw then I had ever expected this way, including online images of some of the actual newspaper articles.  According to the 1930 Federal Census, John remained chief of police into the 30’s and remained in Moorestown on Second Street with his wife Maggie and their two adult sons John (Pipefitter)  and Edward (mechanic).

John Bradshaw passed away in 1953, and Margaret Bradshaw passed away 12- years later, in 1963.  They are buried in Mt. Carmel Cemetary in Moorestown, NJ.


No let up in hunt for child’s slayer                                                                                                     Evening Public Ledger June 14th 1921

Matilda Russo News Article Have you discovered any surprises using search engines?  Do you Google your ancestor’s names and info regularly?

Stay Calm and Craft- A Simple Wooden Tray Decoupage

Nothing helps me manage stress better than crafting and creating.  When I don’t put my nervous energy to good use, the anxiety levels within me rise.  When I am creating I feel as though my stress levels decrease and my positive energy increases, and I am a better, lesser stressed out version of myself.  When I am working on a piece of art or a craft project, it is one of the few times my mind is clear of all worry and I become completely focused.  I was feeling a bit stressed and this small and simple wooden tray decoupage craft was exactly what the Dr. ordered.

Little Wooden Tray

I picked this wooden tray up at A Goodwill store.  It was  marked with a red tag and on this day red tag items were 50% off.  This was a bargain item costing only 50 cents.  The wood on this piece was in very nice condition. I decided not to paint it, I chose a nice piece of Victorian Artwork and traced and cut the print to fit the inside of the tray.  I generously applied Mod Podge with a small foam craft brush to the inside of the tray.  I adhered the print carefully to the tray, smoothing the paper out as I applied it to the wood.  Once dry, I applied two coats of Mod Podge over top of the image to seal it. I used a paper towel and vaseline (works great on wood!) to shine and buff the wood.

Victorian Artwork Decoupage

Ah now that’s better!  Try a simple craft during a stressful day. You won’t regret it!

(and I think our Victorian model would agree!)


Printed Art

Small Wooden Tray

Mod Podge


Craft foam brush

Vaseline/cloth or paper towel

Upcycled Decorative Jar Lamp: Take Three

Upcycled Decorative Jar Lamp


It all started with a spaghetti Jar, a broken lamp and a upcycle idea.  I found myself making a third decorative fabric covered glass jar lamp tonight.  (See Decorative Lamp # 1 and #2 to read tutorials on how I make these jar lamps.) I enjoy making these because each one turns out unique and the style possibilities are endless when it comes to the different fabrics you can use.

I also had the chance to work on a few smaller projects and organizing my craft space.  I decided to use the same sheet  I used for Cloth Covered Galvanized Bucket.  The Lamp is being displayed in a built-in vanity in our hallway that displays a special family blue vase.  The light this lamp omits illuminates the vase nicely and it is pleasing to the eye as you walk up our stairs.  Upon further inspection today, on a trip up to our attic, I stumbled across more of these “nightlight bulb lights”  These certainly will come in handy for future luminary crafts!

Upcycled Decorative Jar Lamp Reflection



Fabulous Fabric: Little White Wall Shelf Restyle

Old white flip shelf

While I was going through our spare bedroom and it’s contents in the attempt to make way for a crafting space, I discovered this little, white, framed wall shelf.  I remember purchasing this from a department store many years ago.  It came in a set of three and the frames where various sizes.  I used this shelf in our bathroom for quite sometime.  This shelf was the largest among them.  I did not find the two other, smaller shelves, and I  was unsure of their whereabouts.  I am hoping I come across them again.

Although these frames functioned well, I thought they lacked style  and were rather plain.  That is when I got an idea.  I decided to upholstery staple some fabric to the back of the shelf frame.  I spread a large piece of this spare fabric snuggly over the back of the shelf with the design facing outward,  I stapled the fabric to the wooden shelf about every inch around,  I then trimmed the fabric with a pair of scissors.

upholstery stapler

When I turned the shelf around I noticed a few scratches and minor chips on the shelf area.  In order to conceal this, I used black acrylic paint and applied two coats allowing the paint to dry between coats.  Once the paint was completely dry, I applied a coat of Mod Podge to seal the paint and prevent any further chipping.

Shelf restyle, paint fabric and Mod Podge

Now that is more like it!  I love the difference the fabric makes in this piece.

Fabric and Mod Podge Shelf

I decided to display our Willow Tree figurine we were given as a gift when our daughter was born.  It hangs below our family photo canvas and I think it fits in nicely!



Framed Wall Shelf

Fabric of choice

Acrylic Paint

Mod Podge


Upholstery Stapler